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Provide Edition: It feels too heavy

October 28, 2021

Hello Colleagues,

Wow. The past few weeks have been exhausting. Or, shall we say, even more exhausting? Between returning to school, vaccine mandates and staffing shortages, not to mention increased hospitalizations due to COVID, I know so many of you feel like you’re drowning.

You’re not alone.

Because you’re short on time and a lengthy email is the LAST thing you have time for right now, might I offer you a few reminders to address overwhelm?

1.     Get connected – on any level – in person, online, in a group, with your body, with an incredible friend. Connection is the NUMBER ONE factor that will address burnout.

2.     Breathe – it’s simple but effective. Research has shown that just 90 seconds of deep, belly breathing can reduce your cortisol levels. Take off your mask, find a space, and breathe deeply.

3.     Tap out – take a break, even if it’s for short periods of time. In 90 seconds you can breathe. In 5 minutes you can stretch. In 15 minutes you can eat a meal and try not to rush. In 30 minutes you can watch a sitcom and belly laugh. In an hour you dive into a creative task like knitting, singing, or drawing. In a half-day, you can go for a hike or visit a friend. In a day you can get out of town and disconnect from work. You get the picture…

4.     Feel your feelings – I know, you’ve stopped reading… “If I feel my feelings, I’ll go into a black hole and never come out.” It’s not true. Acknowledging feelings actually help them subside because they’re recognized. Once a feeling is recognized, you can decide what to do with it – cry? Set it aside for now? Write it down? Talk to someone? Run? Share it? That feeling needs to be felt all the way through, or it will pile up and come out in other spaces.

5.     Focus on what you can do now. You can’t solve the problem of yesterday and you cannot predict tomorrow (or even later today). But you can be present in the next moment with your patient, your colleague, your MA, or your partner. That’s the only moment we can control.

Gentle reminders friends. This is not an assignment, nor a task to achieve. It is how you will survive through this mess. Simply take an inventory of the ideas and choose one to be more intentional about during your day. Just one small action.

With compassion,

Dr. Amy

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